REAL TECH, that is.


Suppose we were gods: would we need to work? No. We would not even need an economic system; whatever we would want, it would be.

Indeed, what’s the difference between infinitely advanced technology and god like status? None.

So we see that technology primes economics. Technology also dominates not just the psychology of individuals, but the psychology of society itself. We are technological animals, and have been, ever since we depended upon tools and weapons for our survival: that’s several million years, all the way back to our distant ancestor species.

Without advancing technology, there would not even be a sustainable civilization, as resources get exhausted. Indeed, a given technology exploits given resources. Those are always finite.

Even Sol’s thermonuclear reactor has finite resources. The most recent observations show that the sun’s energy production is even somewhat erratic (some stars, such as the Cepheids, are extremely variable).  

For example, there is just enough lithium, on the whole planet, for a few million electric cars. Without much more advanced batteries, electric cars, a commendable goal, will stay an aborted dream.

The main technologies used nowadays, and by main, I mean those mostly contributing to Gross (“Domestic”) Product, are all unsustainable, because they rise the CO2 level at a rate that will turn the Earth into Venus within a few centuries.

Two or three centuries is very little time to switch COMPLETELY, and absolutely, to NON CO2 producing industries (as we will have to; skyscrapers may have to be built with wood, as present day concrete makes lots of CO2… although switching to much better Roman concrete will diminish CO2 emissions considerably!).   

The present economic stagnation has a lot to do with confusing the weapons of plutocracy with the technology we need to survive as a civilization, just as we mess up our spaceship. Finance supreme caused a brain drain down to hell, in the service of Pluto. A lot of ingenuity was spent on inventing new financial “products” or “technologies” that were just new ways of stealing people by skirting the letter of existing laws.

The transfer of most resources, including the brightest young minds and hopes, to “greed is all we need to make society right“, has caused this stagnation.

We saw the same exact thing happen to Rome under the plutocratic “Principate”… with the multidimensional collapse of the state, and even civilization, and population, as consequences…

Not only did resources, such as forest and metallic mines, got exhausted, but health care imploded, while the barbarians closed the military technological gap, allowing them to roam through the empire. All this because democracy had been displaced by plutocracy.

The collapse of civilization blossomed into the Dark Ages of the Fifth Century, with its many dramatic invasions (including by savages who came all the way from Mongolia, the Huns!).

However, in the original case of “Wacht Am Rhein“, the PAGAN Franks took complete command of the Roman forces by 486 CE, and acquired total military control of Gallia and Germania within 21 years. That neutralized the horrendous, civilization devouring, mind extinguishing Christian theocracy, that had caused the catastrophic collapse of everything (including of that of the population).

The ascent of the Franks had depended, for already two centuries, upon technological superiority, especially in metallic weapons (nothing new: the Roman army had purchased metallic armaments from the Celto-Germans for nearly a millennium). The civilizational bias favoring new technology had insured the ascent of the Greeks and the Romans. Yet, the mood of improving matters through technological solutions was undermined by slavery, and, more generally the mentality that all problems of man could be solved by exerting violence upon other men.

The overall mood enabled Macedonia, the Hellenistic kingdoms and the fascist Roman plutocracy, with its Principate, to take over the world from the republican poleis. Some historians will say: well, it was decided on the battlefield by, Philip Antipater, and Alexander of Macedonia. True. However it was not that simple: the mood of friendliness to fascism and plutocracy pervaded the works of Pluto, Aristotle, and those they influenced (top politicians, captains in the Athenian Navy).

The philosopher Demosthenes was extremely conscious that the wrong mood reigned, and urged the Athenians to resist Antipater, as their ancestors had resisted Xerxes. The Athenians fought back. Indeed. But not with the ferocity they had deployed against Persian plutocracy. 

Plutocracy in friends is a terrible thing, all the more as it is harder to resist. 

But the Franks put technology on steroids by making all citizens free, and outlawing slavery. The technological stagnation that had characterized fascist, plutocratic Rome was over. (OK, the Franks were also plutocrats; but their plutocratic index was much lower than that of the aristo-religious families of around 400 CE.)  

Consequentially, major technological and intellectual advances blossomed.

First of all, a more sustainable, less energy intensive economy was built around wood There was no more slaves to dig underground for coal, or stones. Absolute Worth Energy per capita had to be augmented. Using wood massively in housing allowed to do this (whereas using wood for mines, as was done before, was not possible anymore, from lack of slaves and too much depth).  

To replace human slaves, while augmenting production, friendly species were bred, from giant draft horses to protein laden beans. Mechanization was extreme, with thousands of wind and water mills per province. Carolingian script and German were invented by 800 CE. Caroligian script actually augmented the AWE of writing (it was devised to minimize the effort of the scribes).

Considered on objective indicators (total population, military might, ecumenism, religious tolerance, inclusivity, energy per capita, AWE per capita), the Imperium Francorum (486 CE-800 CE) was clearly an upswing, and achieved higher than Rome at its apex in some very important dimensions. This culminated in the official re-establishment of the Roman empire in 800 CE (when Charlemagne was the one and only Augustus of the entire Roman empire, all the way to Constantinople!).

The important point: the fundamental renaissance, after the death of Antiquity under slavery, contradiction and superstition, was the Imperium Francorum. So I propose this date: 486 CE for the renaissance that counted (some French nationalists will start singing; however, the Franks themselves put the context of their renaissance in a world perspective, from Troy to Europe, and in these words; plus, they spoke Old Dutch). 

(Islam was a neglectable quantity, because it did not make the transition out of slavery, so was stuck in the same philosophical trap as the Greco-Romans, and even worse, because it did not have secular law, and, thus, free men. Still a problem today.)

This technological drive launched by the Romanized Celto-Germans-Franks did not abate.

Even after plutocracy came back big time by 1100 CE (First Crusade). And the technological drive actually protected against plutocracy.

Massive iron architecture appeared by 1150 CE in the cathedrals (in Frankish style, insulted as “Gothic in 16C). That was rendered possible by hydraulic presses, an example of the mechanical advantage that was used all over the European Middle Ages (allowing to run a society with a much higher AWE per capita than China: machines and animals were doing the work down by armies of men in China, as travelers related at the time). By 1200 CE, gravity clocks were developed (they embodied most of the mechanics of the 17C).  

By 1300 CE the considerable development, now ahead of what Rome had known, collided with the exhaustion of resources wall. Within 50 years, the population had been cut by more than half.

However, the collapse of civilization did not happen. Why? Because it’s intellectual fascism, and the stupidity it led to, that collapsed the Romans. When technology and minds are moving ahead, that cannot happen.  

Before 1350 CE, Buridan, a secular cleric, advisers to several kings, twice rector of the university of Paris, a philosopher (and not a theologian!), physicist, mathematician had invented the principle of inertia (now stupidly attributed to Newton… who was born three centuries later!!!!). Also graphs, the heliocentric system, etc. by the time the Plague struck…

So, when the Plague struck, the nobles knew what to do: few, if any, died! (governments took the ultimate measures to prevent the spreading of the Plague, such as shooting on sight).

So the Middle Ages did not renew the Roman catastrophe because the technological drive did not abate. That, in turn was rendered possible by the fact that the moral system of those in power, that of the aristocrats, was not that of Christianity (whereas in the Late Roman empire, the emperors themselves were Christian fanatics).

Nietzsche insisted upon that fact (but he does not seem to have noticed the effect on science, technology and thing in general).

The case of Buridan is illuminative that way: in 1471 CE (that was 113 years after Buridan’s death!) Louis XI and the terrorizing Vatican made the reading of Buridan unlawful (however, the university that Copernicus attended made the reading of Buridan mandatory! Something to do with Jan Hus’ martyrdom… another, but related story).

Copernicus, an abbot, parroted Buridan’s work, but it would take much more than a century for the most obscure corners of the plutocracy to accept that ideas could change… and thus, to admit to the changed mood that intellectual fascism was not perfect. The changed mood that thinking about things actually improved things. And that poor thinking led to poor things (watch the Obamacare debacle for poor thinking!).

So how do we make technology into god, full steam ahead, as we need and in our image again? And not into that financial disease that is presently devouring the planet? Well, we keep plutocracy under control. And how do we do that? Well, we do it the old fashion way, exactly as the Roman Republic did it!

We cap wealth!


Patrice Ayme


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21 Responses to “ALL WE NEED IS TECH”

  1. Old Geezer Says:

    Happy to see quote marks around the word PRODUCT as it applies to the crap the financiers try to sell us.

    To me, a PRODUCT is something useful which was actually PRODUCED.

    And the banking “industry” is NOT an industry. They are a sector.

    And I am being charitable at that.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Very charitable you are, Old Geezer! As Partha insists, they ought all to be nationalized. A giant crack-down on financiers is what we need. All financial “products” that do not involve the real economy ought to be made unlawful!
      As bankers create money, a governmental function, they ought to be put on gov salaries (with some incentives equal maximally to a few times gov salary!)

      • pshakkottai Says:

        Dear Patrice:Thanks for mentioning my pet wish about nationalized banking and govt salaries for bankers!

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear Partha: And I, in turn, thank you for your support.
          The fact is, in a fractional reserve system, at say 3% reserve, bank employees are 97% state. I least that’s the math I propose!
          What do you think?

          • pshakkottai Says:

            Hi Patrice:
            The fact is, in a fractional reserve system, at say 3% reserve, bank employees are 97% state. I least that’s the math I propose!
            What do you think?

            At 3% reserve, the created money is 1(/3%) = 33 times boosted. How do we relate this to the equivalent number of (state) employees? Do we need more employees to process more money? If it is a mortgage the number of employees required is the (mean loan * mean time* number of employees) and will be increased by the boost value which is 30 times with 100% reserve. The bank owners handle 30 times what they handled before but gave out 30 times the previous (mean loan * mean time* number of employees) This could be very substantial. This looks like a big win for plutocracy.How did you arrive at 97% state?

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              dear Partha: Under fractional reserve, say at 3%, bankers lend 33 times what they truly have. They can only do this, because the government is ready to provide the funds, in case of run on the bank. By “run”, I mean other banks wanting to see the cash. That’s basically what happened in Fall 1998.

              So 97% of the bank “money”, that the bank lends, is actually government money.

  2. Ken Says:

    I agree 100% with capping the amount of wealth a person can have. I work on the roads and very few people realize that it is not the cars use of fossil fuels that makes the difference but rather the roads themselves. The average heavy use road has a life span of a year or less and it has to be repaired by very heavy equipment that mostly has to be hauled to site and is incredibly inefficient. The road itself is a massive drain on the coffers, it would not matter if we had cars that ran on farts as long as all the machinery to maintain the road still runs on fossil fuels and the road itself is a fossil fuel product that is constantly degrading.It is far more expensive and wasteful than more than a few realize.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      True Ken, people do not focus on infrastructure. I have listened to big time big players in Silicon Valley pontificating to me, that stuff like roads, cars, planes, etc. was “old tech”, irrelevant to today’s world.

      In Europe, some Roman roads are still standing, and, sometimes, below modern roads. Roman roads were more than a meter thick. Roman concrete is so good, it is still intact, below water. The Pantheon in Rome is still the largest (pure, unreinforced) concrete building in the world.
      To make that indestructible Roman concrete, one spent less than half the CO2… The gov lab at UC Berkeley claims to have figured how to make it…

      BTW roads in like France are much better than in the USA, so I wonder if some of the road repairs here are not done on the cheap… It’s like trains running here on the left, or on the right, depending upon the hour of the day (9an accident waiting to happen!)

      Neglect of infrastructure in the USA is a gathering problem, directly related to plutocracy supreme…

  3. Paul Handover Says:

    Fascinating essay that deserves another couple of reads by me. Just wanted to say that I wish you had used the word engineering instead of technology! Oh, and do wander across to my debate with you over at my place.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Paul: I just rushed there, and contributed to this very interesting debate! ;-)!

      “Techno-logy” means logic of a method, or system, or specialized logic. There is the idea of discourse. It’s a bit more general than engineering, which came from in-genus, and meant, since Roman times, a machine. So basically engineering is about what’s inside the object at hand, whereas technology is any complex description of a system.

      One can talk, or, at least, I do, of a technology of justice, or health care, etc…

      “Science” is still something else, namely what we know for sure (my semantics). OK, we can be more or less sure. There is NO “scientific” method (Fayerabend pushed that idea, I know this, but I have lots of arguments to support that view). Science can be more or less technological… CERN (Chris Snuggs’ enemy!) is certainly highly technological, so is ITER…

      On the other hand, there is a philosophical method (and all breaktrough scientists have to use it!)

      Thanks for the adjective “fascinating”!

      • Paul Handover Says:

        I must stop coming to this place for you keep reminding me that my classical education was so poor! (only joking).

        Yes, I saw your comment over at Learning from Dogs. Thank you.

        Now I will read your latest post again, with an eye to leaving a comment, if one comes to me (and I’m sure it will).

  4. Paul Handover Says:

    When you write that: “Two or three centuries is very little time to switch COMPLETELY, and absolutely, to NON CO2 producing industries …..” surely the timescales are much shorter than that?

    I was under the impression that if the planet, and especially the deep ocean levels, heat up by less than 2 deg C. then runaway, self-reinforcing global changes make Planet Earth unsustainable for much of life by the end of the century. Ergo, those self-reinforcing changes could be in place by 2050, possibly earlier.

    To your last point, that of capping wealth, it is the obvious way out of our present mess. I dream, as a ‘New American’, that there will be a democratic tipping-point before the climate tipping-point. But then this silly old fart of an Englishman is too often lost in dreamland.

    Tell me that there really could be these democratic changes in this country within, say, the next five years?

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Paul: There are two types of catastrophes. When I talked about 2 or 3 centuries for a total, complete and absolute switch, I was talking about avoiding a Venusian run-away (see the sentence before the quote). THAT would terminate life on Earth (so nobody serious talks about it). The problem is that CO2 stays in the air for millennia.

      Of course we would probably not get there, as nuclear powers would probably NUKE the non nuclear, fossil fuel powers (a nuclear winter would be welcome!).

      The other, and preliminary, catastrophe would simply be Jurassic Park, with crocodiles in Alaska. This is the exterior of the envelope according to the GIEC/IGCC… For 2100 CE… We are indeed closer already from Jurassic climate than from the last glaciation: 6 degrees Celsius to the latter, 5 degrees from the former…

      I do believe that, should one cap CO2 production absolutely, say in 2100 CE, we will just stay Jurassic. However, the disaster would be immense, and kill billions…

      Another point: it generally takes 50 years for a new energy system to come to speed. At this point, we have NO new energy system (but a patchwork of possibilities). Proof: Japan going back to their old, extremely dangerous tsunami reactors, because, well, there is no choice…

  5. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Humanity continuing to live in the range of climatic conditions of the last 50,000 years is completely impossible.

    Because of the fact we are sure to pass the equivalent of 500ppm of CO2 equivalent in the next ten years. Be it only because of inertia in the system (and in spite of the accord on some CO2 equivalent gases just signed).

    We are already above the Antarctica instability threshold (we know this in two ways).

    • Paul Handover Says:

      That is truly frightening. Can you point to somewhere that offers the science behind your prediction of 500ppm by 2024?

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        We are augmenting at 4 ppm a year. That’s 40 ppm in ten years. Some will say:”Oh, but then we will be at 440 ppm!” Not so. We are already around 465 ppm, when one adds the CO2 equivalent gases (some used for refrigeration). Those gases will be reduced, they just signed, but… Too late; we will make the 500 ppm. Within a decade.

        Overall, CO2 emissions have been augmenting (in spite of reductions in the EU-USA).

  6. pshakkottai Says:

    Hi Patrice, You are right! I misunderstood,

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Partha! I think that’s a simple point… That makes Western style bankers among the most extravagantly paid and corrupt individuals known in history. Thus fractional reserve itself, by making benakers into wards of the state, is a very important motive to treat bankers just as civil servants, henceforth.

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